Recipe: Lemon Sole with Brown Butter and Caper Sauce

Lemon sole has a misleading name – it isn’t actually a sole and doesn’t taste of lemon. It is actually a flounder and is known for its delicate, soft and sweet taste – it can even convert a seafood sceptic.

In terms of sustainability lemon sole should be an occasional treat, rather than a kitchen staple. The fishery for Lemon sole is generally unmanaged in EU waters and there is also no minimum size in force (however in Cornwall they have to be over 25cm). for the species. If you can’t get Cornish choose seine caught fish, as this ensures less damage is done to the seabed and is the most sustainable option you can have in terms of sole from the North Sea. The most important thing to consider is that it is over 25cm so if you take nothing else from this remember that. If in doubt speak to your fishmonger who can reassure you.

Here we have served it with a classic – brown butter and caper sauce. Master this (it really is so simple) and you will be the talk of your friends!

Using celeriac lightens up the dish (it’s still filled with butter though so don’t think its a healthy meal!) and allows the fish to shine.

sole above


  • 1 lemon sole fillet – bone in and skin on 
  • Heaped teaspoon of capers
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ a celeriac
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Teaspoon of plain flour
  • Large handful of spinach


  1. Add the milk to a saucepan and bring to a soft boil.
  2. Peel the celeriac and then cut into small chunks.
  3. Place into the pan and gently boil for 15 minutes. You can do the below whilst that cooks.
  4. Meanwhile take the sole and place it skin side up on a chopping board. Lightly score the skin (not cutting into its flesh), which ensured it doesn’t curl up too much and can cook evenly.
  5. Dust the lemon sole with the plain flour, ensuring that every part has a light covering.
  6. Take a large frying pan and place on a medium high heat (our induction was on 7 out of 10 if that’s helpful!).
  7. Add one tablespoon of butter until it melts and then place the sole in the pan, skin side down.
  8. Cook for 2 minutes until the sides start to crisp up.
  9. Turn the fish and cook for a further two minutes. Check the fish is cooked through (it should flake away easily and be white rather than translucent).
  10. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  11. Add the spinach to the pan to wilt (should only take around a minute) and then place on your plates ready to serve.
  12. Add the other tablespoon of butter back into the pan and leave to sizzle. The butter should lightly brown, this gives it a creamy, nutty flavour.
  13. Add the capers and the squeeze of lemon, stir and set aside.
  14. Once the celeriac is ready drain (keep some of the milk in case needed to add more liquid to the mash).
  15. Mash until smooth and season to taste.
  16. Take a large spoonful of the mash and serve on the plate alongside the spinach.
  17. Serve the fish with a spoonful of the sauce over the top of the fish.

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